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The Weeks Were not Weak in Chicago

An hour and fifteen minute show that had everyone bobbing their heads.

Adam Shay

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In a relatively small bar with a capacity of 169 people at Chicago’s Lincoln Hall, the audience is surrounded by concert posters of previous bands to play the venue — such as Alt-J and Edward Sharpe And The Magnetic Zeros.

As instruments ricochet off the walls, the pronounced southern accents of The Weeks took the stage, 25 minutes after opener The Lonely Biscuits rocked out for 45 minutes. The 12-year-old Weeks, still led by the Mississippi-born brothers Cyle and Cain Barnes, brought their southern-alternative music to the stage for an hour and fifteen minute show and had everyone bobbing their heads.

Opening the show with “The House We Grew up In,” originally released on their 2008 debut album Comeback Cadillac, and re-released three years later on Gutter Gaunt Gangster, the tone was set for a pure rock concert. Throughout the show, The Weeks interacted with the fans, including a moment to take a shot of Chicago’s very own Jeppson’s Malort liqueur, followed by Cyle saying, “Woah, that really has an aftertaste.”

The Weeks tore up Chicago (Image: Adam Shay)

The jams continued, but every audience member seemed to be waiting for “Buttons,”  a bone chilling 2008 single that is a remedy for those who have experienced young love.

Not only did The Weeks elongate their rendition of “Buttons” to a seven minutes, The Lonely Biscuits sprung onto the stage and accompanied them on an extended jam, followed by every band member taking a stage dive into the crowd.

With all of the extended songs, the star of the show was guitarist Samuel Williams.

As he shredded on a black metallic guitar, Williams was added chords that differ from the studio albums, emphasizing his raw style. While rocking a long, well-groomed beard with a gray beanie and sleeveless shirt showing his tattooed arms, the rhythm and riffs exploded off his guitar. Williams had opportunities to add guitar solos, specifically on “Ike,” a single from 2017’s Easy.

The fans erupted like a volcano as The Weeks first encore, “Mississippi Rain,” began. Williams took control on his multiple solos, turning a 4:05 minute song into a six-plus minute jam.

Only a few feet to his right was eccentric lead singer Cyle, who looked possessed — with his eyes rolling back into his head while singing. His powerful vocals, combined with his long, wavy brown hair and skinny frame, matched his rock n’ roll persona.

The Weeks chose to focus more on their rock songs rather than their ballads. Aside from the bluesy “Ain’t My Stop” and the alt-pop of “Hands on the Radio,” the band focused on rock songs and strayed from ballads like “Hold It, Kid (Your Heart Just Skipped A Beat)” and “Sailor Song.”

With a more intimate venue like Lincoln Hall,  throwing in a ballad or two in their encore, specifically between “Mississippi Rain” and “Buttons.” Those are heartfelt songs, and even one of those tunes would have created a special moment.

The Weeks are a group of men who see their fans as extended family. After the show, the Barnes twins happily took pictures and signed autographs for their fans in front of the left entrance. While at the same time, Williams and bassist Damien Bone wandered around the bar doing the same, making conversations with eager fans and enjoying whatever beer was on tap.

The Weeks are a band not to miss, and certainly a show any southern-alternative loving Chicago-ian should see.

If you obsess over singers and bands, and are one of those people who make a playlist for every occasion, join CMN’s Music Journalism Course and get real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to music industry insiders, and a great place to display build your portfolio. Get all the details on the Music Journalism Course here.

Adam Shay is a graduate from Eastern Illinois University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, During his four years at EIU, he wrote for the Daily Eastern News for two and a half years, covering multiple sports, news events, and writing feature stories. He was also on the rugby club team for two years, a member of the Society of Collegiate Journalists, and finished third in applying for his commencement speech. Currently, he runs a public relations system for a bar in Palatine, Illinois, and in his free time, he is always learning about music, sports history, and American history.

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